The tournament is a benefit for Best Buddies Rhode Island.
In addition to friendship, fundraising and fun, this event is also about inclusion, said state director Matthew Netto.
“Students and adults with disabilities are always thought of as what they can’t do, this tournament is to give people a little bit of show of what they can do,” said Netto.
Each team had a Best Buddy participant. Chelsea Gonzalez, who is deaf, played on the NBC 10 team and it was her first time playing softball.
“I’m excited to learn how to play, the girl helped me learn how to play,” said Gonzalez referring to NBC 10’s Kerri Corrado who helped Gonzalez play the game.
Gonzalez spoke with NBC 10 through sign language which was interpreted by her Best Buddy Emily Costa, who cheered her on.
“She’s inspired me, she taught me sign language, she’s just a great person,” said Costa who told NBC 10 she didn’t know sign language until she met Gonzalez, who taught her. “This is all new to me,” said Costa, who along with Gonzalez, is a student at Pilgrim High School in Warwick.
Netto said the softball showdown is a great way to show Best Buddies’ mission in action.
“We went from one day last year to spreading it out, and it’s worked out really well, everybody seems to be having a good time”
This year’s tournament was expected to raise between thirty-five and forty thousand dollars for Best Buddies Rhode Island’s Friendship programs throughout the state.
To learn more about the organization go to: https://bestbuddies.org/find-programs/rhode-island/